The Power of Words

Check out this short film, “Historia de un letrero,” which is arguably about the power of the written word:

I think this video has all sorts of potential uses in a composition course. One thing I’m planning to do in the fall is show this video to my class, but pause it before you see what the guy wrote on the back of the sign. Then I’ll ask “so, what did he write?” Students could brainstorm possibilities, and then we could vote on which candidates are most powerful. Then we’ll watch the end of the video.

What I like about this is that it could help build a sort of rhetorical simulation. The context and audience are built into the narrative: a blind man, apathetic passersby, a beautiful day, a tin cup, a sign. The problem? How to build identification (in a kind of Burkean sense) between the blind man and those around him. That is, at the heart of the film is a concern with persuasion.

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2 comments on “The Power of Words

  1. That is a great text on the power of the written word. Much better than my working idea of Death Note, a manga/anime about a vigilante who stumbles upon a mystical notebook that can kill those whose names he writes in it… also less morbid…

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